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Gaming in the Library: CSS Games: An A-Z List

Get your game on at the Library!

7 Wonders

In 7 Wonders you become the leader of one of the 7 great cities of the ancient world! Gather resources, develop commercial routes, and affirm your military supremacy. Build your city and erect an architectural wonder which will transcend future times. Players compete with each other to build one of the wonders of the ancient world.

Players: 2-7, Time: 60-90 minutes

Alhambra

The Emirite of Granada, AD1278. At the foot of Europe's Sierra Nevada mountains, one of the most exciting and interesting project of the Spanish Middle Ages begins: the construction of the magnificent Alhambra by Nasrid emir Mohammed ben Al-Ahmar.

The best master builders in the whole of Europe and Arabia want to demonstrate their skill. Players employ the most suitable teams of builders and make sure that you always have enough of the right currency. Because no matter whether they are stonemasons from the north or horticulturalists from the south, they all want a proper wage and insist on their homeland's currency. With their help towers can be constructed, gardens laid out, pavilions and arcades erected, and seraglios and chambers built.

A 2003 Spiel des Jahres winner, Alhambra is a game where players compete to build the biggest and best Moorish palace.

Players: 2-6, Time: 60-90 minutes

Apples to Apples

A game of hilarious comparisons. Apples to Apples consists of two decks of cards: things and descriptions. Each round, the active player draws a description card (which features an adjective like "Hairy" or "Smarmy") from the deck, then the other players each secretly choose the thing card in hand that best matches that description and plays it face-down on the table. The active player then reveals these cards and chooses the thing card that, in his opinion, best matches the description card, which he awards to whoever played that thing card.

Players: 4-10, Time: 30 minutes

Azul

Introduced by the Moors, azulejos (originally white and blue ceramic tiles) were fully embraced by the Portuguese when their king Manuel I, on a visit to the Alhambra palace in Southern Spain, was mesmerized by the stunning beauty of the Moorish decorative tiles. The king, awestruck by the interior beauty of the Alhambra, immediately ordered that his own palace in Portugal be decorated with similar wall tiles. As a tile-laying artist, you have been challenged to embellish the walls of the Royal Palace of Evora, Portugal.

In the game Azul, players take turns drafting colored tiles from suppliers to their player board. Later in the round, players score points based on how they've placed their tiles to decorate the palace. Extra points are scored for specific patterns and completing sets; wasted supplies harm the player's score. The player with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Players: 2-4, Time: 45-60 minutes

Bohnanza

"To Bean or not to bean!" Ever wanted to be bean farmer? Come on, you know you have! In Bohnanza (Bohn is the German word for bean) players control two or three bean fields while trading and competing with other players for the cash the different kinds of beans bring when harvested.

Players: 2-7, Time: 30-60 minutes

Carcassonne

Carcassonne is a tile-placement game in which the players draw and place a tile with a piece of southern French landscape on it. The tile might feature a city, a road, a cloister, grassland or some combination thereof, and it must be placed adjacent to tiles that have already been played, in such a way that cities are connected to cities, roads to roads, etcetera. Having placed a tile, the player can then decide to place one of his meeples on one of the areas on it: on the city as a knight, on the road as a robber, on a cloister as a monk, or on the grass as a farmer. When that area is complete, that meeple scores points for its owner.is a collaborative, game where players develop the gameboard by placing tiles that represent land types.

Players: 2-5, Time: 60 minutes

Chess

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Chess is one of the world's oldest board games. The earliest records of a chess-like game can be found in India dating to as far back as the 6th Century, AD. It spread through the Middle East and was played in Europe by the 10th Century.

Players: 2, Time: variable

Chicago Express

Not just another train game. In Chicago Express, the industrial boom in the 19th century America is re-lived, along with the struggle to become the most successful railroad in the country! In the game the B&O, C&O, Pennsylvania and New York Central railroads drive from the eastern seaboard, across the growing eastern United States, to Chicago, Illinois. Smaller, more aggressive railroads like the Wabash spring up to further expand America's extensive network of railroads. The best railroad executives vied for the maximum return on their investment. The most important goal of all was to make as much profit as possible. The players assume the role of an investor and attempt to achieve dividends that are as high as possible. But the more companies there are, the more difficult it gets. The most cunning investor will win.

Players: 2-6, Time: 60-90 minutes

Clue - The Original

Are you in the mood to solve a mystery? In Clue, players move around to different rooms in a mansion while trying to figure out who is responsible for a murder.

Players: 3-6, Time: 60 minutes

Clue: Harry Potter Edition

Discover the secrets of Hogwarts in this version of the classic Clue game. A fellow student has vanished from the famous School of Witchcraft and Wizardry--and it is up to you to solve the mysterious disappearance. Move around Hogwarts making suggestions--but watch out. Wheels on the board actually move to reveal secret passages, hidden staircases, and even the Dark Mark. Think you've gathered all the facts you need? Go to Dumbledore's office to make your final accusation to win the game.  Harry Potter Clue combines the standard clue idea of going from room to room making suggestions of who, what, and where, with new ideas and game mechanics.

Players: 3-5, Time: 60 minutes

Codenames: Pictures

Codenames: Pictures is based on a map board of cards made up of very strange symbols.  What are these strange symbols? They are code for locations where spies must contact secret agents!​ Two rival spymasters know the agent in each location. They deliver coded messages telling their field operatives where to go for clandestine meetings. Operatives must be clever. A decoding mistake could lead to an unpleasant encounter with an enemy agent – or worse, with the assassin! Both teams race to contact all their agents, but only one team can win.

Players: 2-8, Time: 30-60 minutes

Cribbage

Cribbage is a 300 year-old card game that is played with a deck of standard playing cards and a signature piece of equipment called the cribbage board. There are rules for 2, 3, and 4 player games, but cribbage is typically played as a 2 player game.

Players: 2-4, Time: variable

Deer in the Headlights

Deer in the Headlights, what's more Duluth than that?! Be the first to discard all of your cards and win the round, but watch out! A "Deer in the Headlights" roll will stall your progress. Roll a "Car" or "Running Deer" and dump cards on your opponents.

Players: 2-6, Time: 30 minutes

EcoFluxx

What is EcoFluxx? Well, it has a whole food chain of woodland creatures from leaves to bears. It has frogs and snakes and trees and fish and spiders and rabbits and mice and mushrooms and worms. It has air and water and dirt, and it has the humans whose pollution can endanger such things. EcoFluxx is a card game in which the cards themselves determine the current rules of the game. At the start of the game, each player holds three cards and on a turn a player draws one card, then plays one card. By playing cards, you can put new rules into play that change numerous aspects of the game: how many cards to draw or play, how many cards you can hold in hand or keep on the table in front of you, and (most importantly) how to win the game.

Players: 2-6, Time: 30 minutes

 

Eldritch Horror

An ancient evil is stirring. You are part of a team of unlikely heroes engaged in an international struggle to stop the gathering darkness. To do so, you’ll have to defeat foul monsters, travel to other worlds, and solve obscure mysteries surrounding this unspeakable horror. The effort may drain your sanity and cripple your body, but if you fail, the Ancient One will awaken and rain doom upon the known world. Eldritch Horror is a cooperative game based on the fiction of H.P. Lovecraft. In Eldritch Horror, investigators travel the globe in an urgent quest to save the world from a diabolical, omnipotent Ancient One. With four different Ancient Ones, twelve investigators, numerous monsters, and hundreds of possible encounters, every game provides an unique and epic adventure.

Players: 1-8, Time: 2-4 hours

Evolution

In Evolution, players adapt their species in a dynamic ecosystem where food is scarce and predators lurk. Traits like hard shell and horns will protect your species from carnivores, while a long neck will help them get food that others cannot reach. With over 4,000 ways to evolve your species, every game becomes a different adventure.

Players: 2-6, Time: 60-90 minutes

Exploding Kittens

Exploding Kittens is a kitty-powered version of Russian Roulette. Players take turns drawing cards until someone draws an exploding kitten and loses the game. The deck is made up of cards that let you avoid exploding by peeking at cards before you draw, forcing your opponent to draw multiple cards, or shuffling the deck. The game gets more and more intense with each card you draw because fewer cards left in the deck means a greater chance of drawing the kitten and exploding in a fiery ball of feline hyperbole.

Players: 2-5, Time: 15-20 minutes

Explorers of the North Sea

Explorers of the North Sea is set in the latter years of the Viking Age. As ambitious sea captains, players seek out new lands to settle and control. They will need to transport their crew among the newly discovered islands to capture livestock, construct outposts and fulfill various other goals. So ready the longships, there are new horizons to explore!  This game is part of a trilogy which includes Raiders of the North Sea, also in the CSS Library collection.

Players: 1-4, Time: 45-60 minutes

Go

You think chess is an old game? Go is even older. One of the most popular board games in East Asia, Go has it's roots in ancient China. Some scholars claim the game is over 4,000 years-old. It was most likely "invented" between 2,000 BC and 1,500 BC. The earliest mention of Go (圍棋 (wéi qí)- "surrounding game") appears in the "Analects" of Confucius (551-479 BC), while the earliest physical evidence is a 17×17 Go board discovered in 1952 in a tomb of the former Han dynasty (206 BC- 9 AD). Go is played with black and white stones on a square, wood board. The board is divided with 19 vertical and 19 horizontal lines.

Players: 2, Time: 30-180 minutes

Hanabi

Hanabi , named for the Japanese word for "fireworks" (written as 花火; these are the ideograms flower and fire, respectively) is a coopertive game for 2-5 players where players do not play against each other but work together towards a common goal. In this case the players are absent-minded fireworks manufacturers who accidently mixed up powders, fuses, and rockets from a fireworks display. The players must work together to stop the fireworks show from becoming a disaster!

Players: 2-5, Time: 20-30 minutes

Hive

Hive is a very addictive, insect-themed, strategy game where the objective is to capture your opponent's queen bee by completely surrounding it. Hive has no set up, the game begins when the first piece is played, and can be played on any flat surface. 

Players: 2, Time: 30-45 minutes

Monopoly

Born during the Great Depression (patented in 1935 with earlier variants dating to 1904), Monopoly is another American classic that has its die-hard proponents (and detractors) in the gaming world. Buy and sell real estate to become the top realtor of the gaming world. Income is gained when other players visit your properties to conduct business or vacation. Monopoly is unusual in that the game has official, printed rules, but most players learn how to play from others, never actually learning the correct way to play. This has led to the canonization of a number of house rules that make the game more palatable to children (and sore losers) but harm the gameplay by preventing players from going bankrupt or slowing down the rate of property acquisition, thus extending the duration of the game.

Players: 2-8, Time: 60-180 minutes

Munchkin

Munchkin is a light-hearted twist on roleplaying games. You and your friends compete to kill monsters and grab magic items. Wear the Boots of Butt Kicking, wield the Staff of Napalm, or maybe the Chainsaw of Bloody Dismemberment, head down in the dungeon, kill everything you meet, backstab your friends and steal their stuff. Grab the treasure and run. Simple fun.

Players: 2-8, Time: 60-180 minutes

Munchkin Treasure Hunt

Munchkin Treasure Hunt is a simplified board game version of Munchkin, designed for younger kids (6+). Players move around the board, enter rooms where monsters await, draw one or two cards to see how strong the monster is, then defeat it. The player with the most treasure at the end wins.

Players: 2-6, Time: 60 minutes

One Night Ultimate Werewolf

One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a fast-paced game where everyone gets to be a different role. In the course of only one night and the following morning, the players will determine who among them is a werewolf...hopefully. One Night Ultimate Werewolf is a microgame of the party game Ultimate Werewolf that doesn't need a moderator. There's no elimination, and each game lasts about 10 minutes. Each player gets a unique role: A Werewolf, Seer, Troublemaker, or another, all with special abilities. After a secret night phase that includes changing roles, players have just 5 minutes to find a Werewolf.

Players: 3-10, Time: 10-15 minutes

​Note: Download the free iOS/Android app that makes playing incredibly engaging and addictive
.
Download the iOS app
Download the Android app

Pandemic

Pandemic is a cooperative game. You and your fellow players are members of a disease control team waging a battle against four virulent and deadly diseases. Your team of specialists must find a cure for these plagues before time runs out, stomping out disease hotspots as the game progresses.

Players: 2-4, Time: 60 minutes

Photosynthesis

The sun shines brightly on the canopy of the forest, and the trees use this wonderful energy to grow and develop their beautiful foliage. Sow your crops wisely and the shadows of your growing trees could slow your opponents down, but don't forget that the sun revolves around the forest. Welcome to the world of Photosynthesis! Players plant and shape the ever-changing forest as they cultivate seeds and plan their strategy. The goal is to take trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun's rays. Players must carefully pick where and when to sow as the richest soil grows the strongest trunks, and the trees left in the shadows are blocked from the sun.

Players: 2-4, Time: 60 minutes

Power Grid

According to the box, Power Grid is "an energetic economic game." It does indeed use the law of supply and demand as a primary mechanic. Players race to power the most cities before time runs out. The object of Power Grid is to supply the most cities with power when someone's network gains a predetermined size. Players mark pre-existing routes between cities for connection, and then bid against each other to purchase the power plants that they use to power their cities. However, as plants are purchased, newer, more efficient plants become available, so by merely purchasing, you're potentially allowing others access to superior equipment. Additionally, players must acquire the raw materials (coal, oil, garbage, and uranium) needed to power their plants (except for the 'renewable' wind farm/ solar plants, which require no fuel), making it a constant struggle to upgrade your plants for maximum efficiency while still retaining enough wealth to quickly expand your network to get the cheapest routes.

Players: 2-6, Time: 90-120 minutes

Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the top-rated board games of all time (according to BoardGameGeek.com). It is also fairly complex. If you're new to board games or prefer games that use chance (dice) as the main mechanic, you might not want to try this Caribbean plantation game just yet. In Puerto Rico players assume the roles of colonial governors on the island of Puerto Rico. The aim of the game is to amass victory points by shipping goods to Europe or by constructing buildings.

Players: 3-5, Time: 90-120 minutes

A Question of Scruples

How well do you know your friends? In A Question of Scruples (Scruples for short) players are asked how they will react in a certain situation where an ethical or moral choice is presented. The winner of the game is the first person to successfully guess how a player will react. Scruples requires 4 players to really work and can support up to twelve. A game can usually be played in an hour.

Players: 4-12, Time: 60 minutes

Quiddler

Quiddler has been described as a mixture of Scrabble and Gin Rummy. It's a game for 2-8 people where the objective is to score the most points by creating words from lettered cards. Bonus points can be earned for the most words created and longest word created out of a hand.

Players: 2-8, Time: 30-45 minutes

Raiders of the North Sea

Raiders of the North Sea is set in the central years of the Viking Age. As Viking warriors, players seek to impress the chieftain by raiding unsuspecting settlements. Players will need to assemble a crew, collect provisions and journey across the board to plunder gold, iron and livestock. There is glory to be found in battle, even at the hands of the Valkyrie. So gather your warriors, it’s raiding season!  This game is part of a trilogy which includes Explorers of the North Sea, also in the CSS Library collection.

Players: 2-4, Time: 60-120 minutes

The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon

The Resistance is an exciting party game pitting a small group of resistance fighters against a powerful and corrupt nameless corporation. Players are randomly assigned roles each turn and then use deduction and drama to reveal the spies in their midst. Will the Resistance be able to uncover the spies in time to prevent sabotage? The game supports 5-10 players and can be played in 30 minutes. There is a built in expansion called "The Plot Thickens" in the game box.

The Library also has a companion game to The Resistance called Avalon. The rules of Avalon are pretty much the same as The Resistance, with a few minor changes. Avalon is set during the time of the Arthurian legends. Instead of battling a faceless corporation the good guys of Avalon are fighting against Mordred, the notorious traitor of King Arthur's round table.

Players: 5-10, Time: 30-60 minutes

Risk!

What can you say about Risk!?  It's the very definition of an Ameritrash board game, and also likely the most popular mass market war game in history. Remember those epic games that lasted nearly as long as a good cricket match? Risk is played with 2-6 players and can go on seemingly forever.

Players: 2-6, Time: 120-240 minutes

The Road to Canterbury

In the Road to Canterbury you play a medieval pardoner who sells certificates delivering sinners from the eternal penalties brought on by these Seven Deadly Sins. You make your money by peddling these counterfeit pardons to Pilgrims traveling the road to Canterbury. Perhaps you can persuade the Knight that his pride must be forgiven? Surely the Friar's greed will net you a few coins? The Miller's wrath and the Monk's gluttony are on full public display and demand pardoning! The Wife of Bath regales herself in luxury, the Man-of-Law languishes in idleness, and that Prioress has envy written all over her broad forehead. And the naughty stories these Pilgrims tell each other are so full of iniquity they would make a barkeep blush!

Players: 2-3, Time: 60 minutes

Sagrada

As a skilled artisan in Sagrada, you will use tools-of-the-trade and careful planning to construct a stained glass window masterpiece for the Sagrada Familia. Players will take turns drafting glass pieces - represented by dice - carefully choosing where to place each one in their window. Windows have unique color and shade requirements, and similar dice may never be adjacent so placing each die is more challenging than the last. Gain prestige by adapting to the preferences of your fickle admirers, and of course, by adding your own artistic flair while completing your glass masterpiece.

 

Players: 1-4, Time: 30-60 minutes

Sakura

Every year the Emperor walks through the imperial gardens to greet the spring, every year he stops beneath the sakura trees, and every year you try to paint his picture. Artists from near and far will step over their rivals to be closest to the Emperor as he reaches the cherry blossoms, hoping to paint a portrait that will please him. 

Sakura is a strategy game of pushing your luck, and pushing your friends. Each player will simultaneously decide how far to move both their character and the Emperor. The player closest to the Emperor when the Cherry Blossoms are reached will gain a huge amount of prestige, but if you push too far you risk bumping into the Emperor and walking away in disgrace.

Players: 2-6, Time: 30-45 minutes

Settlers of Catan

The German game that started it all.  In Settlers of Catan, players try to be the dominant force on the island of Catan by building settlements, cities, and roads. Multi-award-winning, "Catan" is one of the most popular games in recent history due to its amazing ability to appeal to non-gamers and gamers alike.

Players: 2-4, Time: 60 minutes

Sheriff of Nottingham

Prince John is coming to Nottingham! As a fellow merchant, I am sure you can see why this is as an opportunity for us to sell goods in the bustling city during the Prince’s visit. However, we must first get our goods through the city gate, which is under the watch of the “honorable” Sheriff of Nottingham. Sheriff of Nottingham is a fun and engaging game where each player will have the chance to step into the shoes of the Sheriff himself.  Other players, acting as Merchants will attempt to bring their goods into the city for profit.  Beware though, while many may act as honest merchants, there is always the possibility of contraband being smuggled into the city! Experience Nottingham in a whole new way!.Declare your goods, deal with the Sheriff and secure victory in a fun-filled and exciting adventure!

Players: 3-5, Time: 60 minutes

Shipwrights of the North Sea

Shipwrights of the North Sea is set in the early years of the Viking Age, circa 900 AD. As Viking shipwrights, players compete to build the greatest fleet on the North Sea. Players must collect oak, wool and iron, as well as getting other craftsmen on board to help. Gold is a precious commodity, and must be spent wisely. As you would expect, the township is filled with an array of characters, bad and worse. Better hope they're on your side!

Splendor

Splendor is a game of chip-collecting and card development. Players are merchants of the Renaissance trying to buy gem mines, means of transportation, shops—all in order to acquire the most prestige points. If you're wealthy enough, you might even receive a visit from a noble at some point, which of course will further increase your prestige.

Players: 2-4, Time: 30-60 minutes

Super Scrabble

Super Scrabble is just like regular Scrabble, only bigger. There are 441 spaces, instead of 225 and 200 letters instead of 100. Quadruple letter and word squares have also been added to the board for more gaming excitement.

Players: 2-4, Time: 60 minutes

Tales of the Arabian Nights

Remember the "choose-your-own adventure" books of your childhood (those of you who grew up in the '80s and '90s probably do!)? Tales of the Arabian Nights is a choose-your-own adventure game for 2-6 players based on One Thousand and One Nights, a collection of West Asian stories and folk tales. You know, the stories of Aladdin's Lamp and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves, or The Seven Voyages of Sinbad. What makes Tales so unique is that the player to the left of the active player is telling the story while the active player makes choices which are presented based on where the players game piece is on the board and what dice combinations are rolled. The game is usually played over a couple of hours but can be shortened if the players agree on new victory conditions. The consequences of one's actions are often hilarious and always entertaining.

Players: 2-6, Time: 60-120 minutes

Ticket to Ride: Europe

Ticket to Ride: Europe takes you on a new train adventure across Europe. From Edinburgh to Constantinople and from Lisbon to Moscow, you'll visit great cities of turn-of-the-century Europe. The game is elegantly simple, can be learned in 5 minutes, and appeals to both families and experienced gamers. Ticket to Ride: Europe features brand new gameplay elements. Tunnels may require you to pay extra cards to build on them, Ferries require locomotive cards in order to claim them, and Stations allow you to sacrifice a few points in order to use an opponents route to connect yours. The game also includes larger format cards and Train Station game pieces.

Players: 2-5, Time: 60 minutes

Trivial Pursuit

1982..., what a year, Helmut Kohl replaced Helmut Schmidt as Chancellor of West Germany (yes, there used to be two Germanys), daylight savings time is introduced in the Soviet Union (oh, wait, maybe that was 1981), the Weather Channel is launched on U.S. cable television, and Trivial Pursuit is released in the U.S. by two Canadians. For the rest of the decade (and beyond) Trivial Pursuit was the ultimate party game, especially among college students.

Players: 2-12, Time: 90 minutes

Tsuro of the Seas

In Tsuro of the Seas, you will sail the treacherous waters of the Mystic Seas in an engaging game of adventure and suspense! As the captain of a mighty ship, you will navigate the seas by placing wake tiles to direct your vessel. Take great caution to avoid your opponents’ ships… and the dangerous daikaiju (monsters) lurking under the surface. Guide your ship with a steady hand and be the last captain sailing to survive the Mystic Seas and win!

Players: 2-8, Time: 30-60 minutes

Tzolk'in: The Mayan Calendar Game

The Maya were a highly advanced civilization known for unique art, complex architecture, sophisticated mathematics and advanced knowledge of the universe. At the heart of Mayan society was the mysterious Tzolk'in, a 260 day calendar that used the movement of the planets to predict the right time to plant, harvest, perform ceremonies, and build monuments. Become a Mayan Ajaw and lead your people to prosperity using the Tzolk'in, a set of gears that rotate through time bringing you and your people opportunities to defeat your opponents. Be sure to choose your actions wisely. Tzolk'in is a complex game which uses dynamic worker placement where workers are placed on one of several interconnected wheels all of which move as the time ticks away.

Players: 2-4, Time: 90-120 minutes

Uno

In Uno players race to empty their hands and catch opposing players with cards left in theirs, which score points. In turns, players attempt to play a card by matching its color, number, or word to the topmost card on the discard pile. If unable to play, players draw a card from the draw pile, and if still unable to play, they pass their turn. Wild and special cards spice things up a bit.

Players: 2-10, Time: 20-40 minutes.